Lancashire are planning to throw their doors open to the “heroes and heroines” from within the National Health Service if and when the Vitality Blast resumes later this summer.

Earlier this month, the Red Rose county announced their plans to honour the NHS workers fighting against the coronavirus with 5,000 free tickets for a Blast home fixture at Emirates Old Trafford.

Plans are in their infancy at this stage, highlighted by the fact that there is as yet no actual fixture schedule to work with.

But chief executive Daniel Gidney has since revealed that the 5,000 allocation could yet be extended if the demand is there and matches are not played behind closed doors.

“For us, it’s a case of, ‘Wow, these guys are genuine heroes and heroines’,” said Gidney, who along with all at Lancashire have been affected by COVID-19 in terms of the sudden death of chairman David Hodgkiss.

“Not only are they saving lives, they are putting their own lives on the line. You can’t get any more selfless than that.

“This is a financial crisis the economy is facing, and not least Lancashire CCC. But life is more important. And to lose our chairman at 71, for him to be robbed of so much life at a reasonably young age, has been heartbreaking.

“The crisis is difficult. We have to protect jobs and have all sorts of challenges. But, actually, it pales into insignificance when you get a close friend losing his life and people in the NHS courageously fighting a war on the frontline.

“That’s where we felt we needed to do something, although it’s only a small token because none of us can ever repay that debt.”

Gidney, chief executive at Old Trafford since September 2012, continued: “We need a fixture schedule before we go any further really. As soon as that happens, we’ll pick a game and go from there.

“We have said 5,000 tickets, but ultimately we’ll see how that goes.

“My view is we would be focusing on Manchester and the north west. But, ultimately, if NHS workers wanted to come from a further afield and travel, then why not?

“We’d have to manage demand, but I don’t want to be thinking restrictively at this stage.

“Frankly, if someone wanted to come up from London, they’d be welcome.

“We had to start somewhere because we have to see where demand sits. But we will do as much as we can.

“Genuinely, we want to give something back. As I say, it’s tiny in comparison, but sport has an important role in saying thank you. It could be a bit of light relief after a lot of pain and risk.”

On March 30, Lancashire announced their chairman Hodgkiss had passed away. It was later revealed he had contracted coronavirus and had a minor underlying health issue.

He had served the county in various roles across more than two decades, including as chairman since 2017.

“David had so much energy and vibrancy about him,” Gidney added. “He’s been a dear friend of mine, and I still can’t believe he’s passed on.

“I know people use cliches such as, ‘He was a one-off’ in these kinds of situations, but he genuinely was. He gave you the same infectious smile whoever you were, whether you were a cleaner, a pot washer or a star player.

"He had a massive passion for this club and for cricket, and he will be missed greatly.”